Originally published at RegularFolksUnited.com
As I write this, President Obama has been in office for 41 days and already he's taken my breath away. To paraphrase football coach Dennis Green, he is who I thought he was. Never in my wildest imaginings, however, did I expect to see us hurtling toward socialism so soon and on so large a scale.
Not content with spending $787 billion before interest on the economic debt expansion package disguised as a stimulus and another $400 billion in supplemental spending, he's now introducing a $3.5 trillion budget that next year alone will result in the highest annual budget deficit in U.S. history and consume 12.3% of the nation's gross domestic product, the highest percentage since World War II. He even has the gall to title his budget "A New Era of Responsibility" while continuing his campaign-style attacks on deficit spending under the Bush Administration. If deficit spending was irresponsible under President Bush, why is it suddenly responsible under President Obama?
We all know the answer to that question. If you think the government's primary responsibility is to keep our country safe, then President Bush's budgets largely reflected a responsible agenda. If, on the other hand, you are more interested in growing government and inserting it into practically every area of people's lives, rewarding political allies, punishing the most productive of the nation's citizens, discouraging small business growth and the creation of generational wealth, suppressing the private and non-profit sectors to eliminate the government's main competition and create a permanent dependent class reliant on government help, and indebting future generations, then Obama's budget is indeed "responsible."
The more money you make, the more harsh your government is going to be toward you at tax time. If you invest, and more than half of Americans do, the tax on your capital gains is going up. If you are a charitable organization, your donations, already affected by the distressed economy, are going to dry up because of the lower deduction for charitable giving. If you are a current or would-be entrepreneur who owns your own business or hopes to own one someday, the odds against you just went up with your taxes to the tune of $353 billion.
A moment of clarity came to me as I read about the lower deduction for charitable giving proposed in Obama's budget. Peter Orszag, the President's budget director, defended the proposal in part by declaring the government provided $100 billion to charities through the recently passed debt expansion package. Which charities, Mr. Orszag? Is ACORN considered a charity? How about Planned Parenthood? Did charities that protect unborn life receive any of those dollars, Mr. Orszag? How about charities that promote abstinence? Again, we all know the answers to those questions.
The notion of government funding the charities it prefers and otherwise lowering the tax deduction for giving to those it doesn't nauseates me. Liberals are supposed to care so much about the poor but this proposal showcases their utter contempt for the organizations that do more for poor and hurting people than government has ever done. This shouldn't surprise us, however, since study after study reveals that liberals are as tight-fisted with their money as conservatives are generous when it comes to charity. Conservatives believe in the compassion of neighbor helping neighbor and local churches and community organizations lifting people up, while liberals pass on the responsibility for helping the poor to the government, which prefers permanent dependence to independence.
President Obama likes to say that budgets reflect the nation's priorities and by my reckoning, he thinks the nation's priorities are:
- To demonize and humiliate anyone who does well financially and dismiss the toil, tears and sweat they put into their gains as byproducts of a selfish and undeserving heart.
- To cripple charities so they can't compete with government as a source of help for the needy.
- To grow government to where it consumes so much of our gross domestic product that nearly half of our year's labor will go to feeding the national treasury and not our own families today or for generations to come.
- To distribute trillions of dollars in debt money from Washington so that states and individuals become hooked on federal aid and can't kick the habit.
When Benjamin Franklin was asked as he emerged from the Constitutional Convention, "Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?", he responded, "A republic, if you can keep it." Given that we elected a man based largely on charisma, race, celebrity, to assuage white guilt, or Bush Derangement Syndrome rather than his qualifications or reverence for bedrock American principles, Dr. Franklin had reason to question our commitment.